Meaningful Writing Instruction
It’s Sunday afternoon, and you’re writing your lesson plans for the week when you suddenly remember that you need to have a writing lesson too! Suddenly, you’re overwhelmed with visions of endless stacks of papers and grammar books. You’re thinking, “I don’t even know where to begin!” You know that you can’t just pick something from the internet and throw it into your plans. You can’t just make it up on the fly. There’s always a chance that your principal may pop in for an observation, so you know it’s got to be good! You are definitely not alone! We have some ideas on how to make writing instruction meaningful for you and your students.
In any classroom, there will always be students who love writing and students who will do anything they possibly can to get out of writing. As with any other subject in school, you have to find a way to reach ALL students, which is much easier said than done. In an ever-changing and technology-rich society, the art of writing is falling by the wayside in favor of micro-communication: texting, tweeting, and social media posts. This makes strong writing instruction all the more imperative.
But what exactly is meaningful writing instruction? It can be boiled down to six essential elements.
- Allowing students to find their own voice and passion
- Having the freedom to make mistakes and grow
- Encouraging student creativity
- Using different types of writing
- Reaching students where they are: scaffold, challenge, support
- Giving valuable feedback with a quick turnaround
All of these things sound great, but, in today’s demanding education landscape, how can you implement meaningful writing instruction? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Find out what topics students are interested in. Use discussions, interest surveys, journal entries, etc.
- Give students space and time to explore and develop their ideas. Let them choose a topic, prompt, or journal entry to elaborate on.
- Carve out time for writing every day, even if it's only 15-20 minutes.
- Demonstrate different types of writing. Allow students to try them all.
- Don't grade every assignment with the Red Pen of Death; assess for specific skills or characteristics.
- Give prompt feedback and allow for multiple revisions.
Easier said than done, right? So how can you accomplish all of this without sacrificing the time you need for other content areas?
Automated Writing Evaluation (AWE) can help. AWE systems support meaningful writing practice while saving teachers so much time! AWE systems provide multiple, varied opportunities for students to write, as well as automated scores and immediate feedback. Extensive AWE promotes evidence-based writing instruction, and features strategies for planning, writing, and revising; goal-setting for students; and peer collaboration.
Are you looking for an Automated Writing Evaluation system? PEG Writing can help!
Contact us to find out more about customizable prompts, multiple graphic organizers, and immediate automated feedback.